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Japanese Life & Culture

Rare Jomon Clayware Unearthed in Okinawa

By January 30, 2017 at 11:15 pm
Excavation site
Excavation site(Photo : Chatan Town)

In the town of Chantancho, Okinawa, a rare piece of clayware of the Jomon Era (14000 BC - several centuries BC) was unearthed - the kind that has been found hitherto only in Aomori, the northernmost mainland region.

This is the first case of such clayware ever unearthed in the southernmost region of Okinawa. The town's Board of Education finds it one of the most precious discoveries signifying cultural interflow in those days.

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The piece of clayware was unearthed at the Hanzambaru Ruins B in Chantancho - a part of the pedestal of a 5x5 cm clayware with a sidelong H-shape belt design.
According to the board, the piece of clayware closely resembles the Kamegaoka Clayware known to have been in use in the late Jomon Era. This type of clayware has been unearthed in Amami Oshima and Tokunoshima in Kagoshima, but this is the first trace of Kamegaoka in farther down in Okinawa.

Several types of Yayoi Clayware have been found also in the Hanzambaru Ruins. The board says all these finds suggest a cultural interflow from late Jomon Era to early Yayoi Era (several centuries BC - approx. 350).

Yasuo Yamashiro of the Chantancho Board of Education comments:

"We are all anxious to study why and how Kamegaoka had found its way to Okinawa.

True, most amazing is the fact that a clayware known in use up in the northernmost part of Japan had a way of "penetrating" in the southernmost region of Japan, Okinawa, at a time no land transport might not have been available and marine transport could not have been developed enough to cover the distance.

Archeology is a study of factual remains of the past that draws history out of stones, as it were. The just-uncovered Kamegaoka clayware in Okinawa is about to speak up how it was 14000 years ago in the archipelago. (Nathan Shiga)

Source: NHK

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